In this article, you will get to know what is a restraining order and how does it help victims of domestic violence. Restraining orders also known as protective orders are a type of court order that can protect someone from any sort of abuse. This involves physical or sexual abuse as well as threatening, stalking, or harassing behaviours. The protected person is the one that gets a restraining order against someone. The person whom the order is against is known as the “restrained person”. Sometimes other family members or household members of the protected person are also included in the list of protected people. They also have an order of protection against the restrained person.
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What do restraining orders do?
Generally restraining orders are supposed to protect you from the one that is harassing you in any manner. However the specific things restraining orders can do may include
1. Stay-away orders
These orders are placed in order to keep the restrained person a certain distance away from the protected person. In general these are like 50 to 100 yards of distance. The distance may include staying away from the protected person, their workplace, their child’s schools or daycares, their vehicles or any other specific routes that they might take.
2. Personal Conduct orders
These orders involve restraining certain conducts or acts that are mentioned in the restraining order. The protected person may list the conducts that need to be restrained and hence the restrained person is ordered to stop doing them. These orders may include stopping them from contacting the restrained person in any manner. This may include calls, messages or even emails. Other than that they may restrain again any stalking, threatening or harassing behavior of physical or sexual nature. The order may include any types of restraints for the personal peace of the protected person and their property.
3. Move-out orders
These orders include kicking out the restrained person from the house of the protected person. This is an residence exclusion order and the restrained person may only be allowed to take their own personal belongings from the house until their court hearing. Most of these orders are in cases of domestic violence against partners or children. Though, they also include dependent adult abuse cases as well.
Consequences of Restraining Orders
Having a restraining order on someone means they have to go through serious consequences. Some of these serious consequences include
- Their activity will be limited and they won’t be able to do certain activities or go to certain places.
- They may be forced to move out of their house
- They may not be allowed to see their children
- They won’t be able to own any sort of ammunition or weapons under the effect of a restraining order.
- Their immigrtion status may be affected especially if they have a green card or visa or are trying to apply for one.
- In case they attempt to violate the restraining order they may immediately be sent to jail or fined and in some cases both.
Types of restraining orders
While applying for a restraining order against someone, there are four kinds of orders that you can go for
- Civil Harassment Restraining Order
- Elder or Dependant Adult Abuse Restraining Order
- Workplace Violence Restraining Order
- Domestic Violence Restraining Order
Civil Harassment Restraining Order
A civil harassment restraining order can be filed against any one that you are not close to. These are orders against any roommate or neighbors or even distant family relatives that may not fall under the spectrum of domestic violence. This can be filed when you are harassed, stalked, threatened or abused by either a stranger or someone you may know but are not very close to.
Elder or Dependant Adult Abuse Restraining Order
These cases may be filed if you are either 65 or older or you are 18 to 64 and have mental or physical disabilities that make you unable to protect yourself or be independent. Such cases may be filed for any kind of abuse including physical or financial abuse, neglect or abandonment. Any kind of treatment that may physically or mentally hurt you may come under this order. Deprivation of basic care or any services that may cause the protected one physical, mental or emotional damage may also be the reason for this restraining order.
Workplace Violence Restraining Order
Workplace Violence Restraining orders are filed by the employer against the employee for any demoralizing behavior. The employer can also file a restraining order to protect their employee from any stalker or harassment at the workplace. However, if you are an employee, you can not file for a workplace violence restraining order. You can only go for a Civil Harassment Restraining order if it’s someone you are not close to or a Domestic Violence Restraining order in case the harasser is your partner or close family member.
Domestic Violence Restraining Order
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders are filed against close relationships, especially your registered domestic partners. They may also include the partners you have divorced or separated with as well as the partners you are dating or used to date. The parent of your child may also come under this order or even your own close relationships like your parent, child, siblings or grandparents may fall under the category against which you can file a Domestic Violence Restraining order.
How do Restraining Orders help victims of Domestic Violence
Restraining order are state laws and may differ across each state. Each state may have their different statutes that define the requirements for getting a restraint order.
Legally these are issued to protect the person who filed it from harming the person against whom the restraining order has been filed. Therefore it is also referred to as a protective order.
The laws governing the Domestic Violence restraining order may establish the following
- Who can file a Domestic Violence Restraining Order
- What kind of protection will they receive from this order
- How will this order be enforced
- What will be the consequences of not following this order
While the laws and establishments may differ from state to state, generally a Domestic Violence restraint order can help the victims get the following benefits.
- They can put an order to cease abuse of any kind and prohibit the abuser from contacting you through any media including calls, messages or emails.
- This may also include banning a third person from contacting you on the behalf of the abuser.
- This can order the abuser to pay you child support and provide you with the mortgage payments on the house that may be owned by both of you
- This can help you have an exclusive right over the house or car that is owned by both of you
- They may be required to pay for any medical cost or property damages that are caused by them
- They may be required to turn in any weapons or firearms that they may own by the court.
- In cases of substance abuse being involved in domestic abuse, the abuser may also be required to attend mandatory treatment programs that may be set out by the court.
- The abuser may be restrained from having custody of their child or visiting them. Moreover, they will be required by the court to pay for their child support. Courts may naturally have the jurisdictions to make decisions for the safety of your children under the restraining order as well.
- Courts may even issue an order against the abuser that may restrict them from visiting your child’s daycare, school, doctors or any other visitations temporarily. Depending upon your case, they may later be allowed to have supervised visitations or arrangements.
- If the abuser fails to meet the requirements of the restraining order, they may be charged for violation. The abuser can contact the police and the police will take any necessary actions that may be required to protect the victim. Oftentimes violations can worsen their case and they may end up with prison time or heavy fines.
In short, filing for a domestic violence restraining order can be really helpful if you feel frightened or threatened by your abuser’s presence. Normally when you file for an abuse case, your lawyer would naturally recommend you to file a restraint order as well. A restraint order is necessary to ensure your safety and makes it easier to involve the police especially if they try to threaten you for backing away on your case. Many clauses of the restraining order are designed by the court in such a way that they naturally keep the protection of your children or other family members in consideration.
While a restraining order can at least give you some peace of mind, it may not necessarily stop your abuser from violating. However, they can not get off easily after such violations and may end up worsening their case. Therefore you have better chances in getting returns on any physical or emotional damages.
Filing a restraint order against a family member or spouse may not seem like an easy option to you but it is necessary for your own safety from an abusive spouse or family member. A restraint order can give you legal protection and strip away a lot of rights from the abuser until your case is finalized and they receive their penalty.
If you are someone who’s going through this or know someone that may be going through this, it is a wise decision to contact a restraining order attorney like San Diego Restraining Order Lawyer to guide you through this process against your abuser. Remember your own safety always comes first!